Denyse Schmidt Quilts
One of the more colorful quotes from the world of quilting goes like this: “Asking a quilter to mend is like asking Picasso to paint your garage.”
Denyse Schmidt is Connecticut’s Picasso of quilting, or perhaps calling her the Josef Albers of quilting is a better analogy, as she was interviewed for a Yale University Press project to create a digital edition of Interaction of Color, marking the 50th anniversary of Albers’ masterwork about color.
Schmidt is a master quilter working at the highest level of creativity, and her talents have been recognized far and wide—the national home-design juggernaut Pottery Barn, for example, scooped up some of her quilts for its line. Her work has been featured in the National Quilt Museum in Kentucky, and her latest book, Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration, had American Craft magazine rhapsodizing, “Denyse Schmidt's contemporary art quilts are things of enduring style and beauty … .”
Schmidt grew up amid the mill towns of Central Massachusetts. Her father was an engineer and her mother an educator, but both had a creative streak—her father made furniture and her mother crafted clothes for the family, none of which looked homemade, Schmidt says in her website bio.
In a more-than-modest understatement, she summarizes her creative arc like this: “I started making things when I was little, and never stopped. I studied graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design, and had more than a few different careers over the years. I finally patched together my many eclectic experiences when I created my business 10 years ago.”
As successful as Schmidt is, she remains genuine, passionate, accessible and caring. She still gives workshops at her studio, and she oversees a Quilt Donation Project that gives money every holiday season to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, which feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless, and helps people conquer drug and alcohol addictions in the city.
The Denyse Schmidt Quilts Studio, located in a historic factory building (once home to the American Fabrics Company) is a locus of art, style, and the greater good—and, of course, offers amazing quilts for sale.
To connect, visit dsquilts.com.
- Douglas P. Clement